Delegates to the World Trade Organization meeting in Seattle arrive with their governments having reached no agreement on what will be on the table. Here are some issues that different parties propose for discussion.
* Farm goods. The United States and the food-exporting "Cairns Group" of countries (Australia, Canada and Argentina are members) are pressing for an end to subsidized exports of farm goods and fewer barriers in general in this trade, which totaled $550 billion last year. Europe and Japan are on the defensive, saying they will open, but not so fast.
* Services. The world rang up $1.32 billion in trade in services last year, but many barriers remain. U.S. companies rank among the world's most efficient in this field, notably in banking and telecommunications. The United States will push for new openings; many other countries, fearing U.S. dominance, will resist.
* Dumping. Under rules of world trade, a country can apply special duties to foreign goods deemed to be "dumped" in its market--that is, sold at illegally low prices. Japan and many developing countries want changes in dumping rules, contending the United States is misusing its laws to protect domestic industries against legitimate competition. The United States is refusing to discuss this issues.
* E-commerce. The United States wants an extension of a 1998 pledge among WTO members not to apply special tariffs to electronic transmissions across borders. It also wants affirmation that electronic delivery of a service should be treated no differently in trade law than traditional delivery--if a country allows foreign companies to open offices to service computers within its borders, it should let them do it remotely over the Internet, for instance.
Europe and Japan generally favor letting e-commerce develop freely, though there is suspicion in some countries that the United States will come to dominate e-commerce.
* WTO transparency. WTO disputes panels operate behind closed doors. With this secrecy becoming a major issue for environmentalists and other social activist groups, the United States proposes giving outside parties a bigger role. No major opposition has surfaced to this idea.
* Labor standards. The United States has proposed setting up a "working group" to study integrating labor standards in WTO rules. Developing countries oppose it, fearing it could lead to barriers to their exports on the grounds that factory conditions don't meet standards.